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January 8, 2012

Nance commitment: What it means

Now that Euless Trinity linebacker Brian Nance has made it official with his commitment to Baylor, let's find out what it means:

THE GOOD: Rated No. 140 in the Rivals250, he became the 20th commitment to the 2012 class and is the highest rated recruit Baylor has secured since Ahmad Dixon in 2010. Baylor's national team ranking also rose from 43rd to 35th. Nance's strength is in his frame. At 6-3, 220, he can probably get to 245-250 and be just quick. He's a rare talent because you don't see many linebackers who can run at his size. In eight games in 2011, Nance still collected 67 tackles (seven for loss), two interceptions and five sacks. If he is close if not right at where he was prior to his knee injury, then Baylor just landed one of the steals of the 2012 recruiting class.

THE BAD: Nance's torn ACL in the spring of 2011 caused some of the major schools to move in another direction including Oklahoma. During workouts leading up the U.S. Army All-American Bowl, some close to the workouts said that he still showed some tentativeness on several drills. While the movement was there, the desire to really push off held him back. But that's natural for any player returning from a torn ACL. The question becomes more on the mental side. There's going to come a point where Nance does something instinctive, momentarily forgets about the knee and realizes that the knee responded.

THE QUESTION MARK: While his academic situation is still a question, Nance has told several media entities that he is working hard every day to get himself academically ready for the transition to Division I. More than likely, his journey through the NCAA Clearinghouse is going to be watched closely - fair or unfair to him.

THE BAYLOR ANGLE: Knowing what they knew, the Baylor coaching staff did its homework understanding Nance's personality, his health situation and his academic situation. When Oklahoma fell out of the running, Baylor seized the opportunity to strike up a relationship. To be sure, Baylor wouldn't have worked this hard if it didn't think it had a chance to not only land his commitment but also get him into school. This coaching staff and support staff believe in kids and will do whatever is necessary to help them make the transition. This was a risk worth taking. Even if Nance decides to take visits to UCLA and Arkansas, it's going to be hard for those programs to overcome what Baylor has established.

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